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Sonoran Gardens and The Contained Gardener

Winter Potted Gardens

You can still plant flowers in pots for the winter. Try to do it when the temperatures for the week will be in the upper 70's through 80's. Shop for the best selections at our local nurseries.

  • Plant successive plantings of garden vegetables. As leafy and root vegetables are harvested, replace them with new seedlings of radish, lettuce, spinach, chard, and other fast-maturing winter vegetables.

  • Protect young seedlings from cutworms by placing a ring, cut from a paper or Styrofoam cup, around the transplant at the soil line to block the cutworm and protect the stem.

  • Snip petunias to encourage them to branch and spread. Cut the ends off of stems to encourage side branching. This will promote abundant flowering and more compact plants.

  • Remove the old blooms from geranium, cyclamen, calendula and other winter flowers as they fade by cutting them off with sharp scissors or hand pruners. This will also increase flower production.

  • Use a bi-weekly spray application of a water soluble fertilizer on all flowering plants to encourage growth and a continual show of flowers.

Sonoran Gardens and The Contained Gardener

Rose Care from Tucson's Rose Society

  1. Water weekly, if we get no precipitation.

  2. If you purchased bare root roses and have planted them in pots, it is best to move them to a protected area if the weather gets below freezing. All established roses that are in the ground require no winter protection in AZ.

  3. Begin now to plan for roses that will need replacing or relocating.

  4. Pruning needs to be completed by Feb 10, so enjoy a month of relaxation until then!

Preparing for Winter Cold

Sonoran Gardens and The Contained GardenerIn Tucson, the average first frost occurs on November 24th. However, we have already experienced close to freezing temperatures this past week. To help avoid frost and freeze damage this winter there are some important steps to take:

  • Keep your plants well watered. Frost will draw moisture from your plants leaves; well watered plants will experience less severe damage if they are not already dehydrated.
  • Use jumbo Styrofoam cups on columnar cactus tips.
  • Do not cut back frost damaged branches until March!!

Reduce heat loss

  • Completely cover plants with cloth or paper (not plastic or towels!) from the top all the way to the bottom for insulation. Do not allow openings for heat to escape. This will protect down to temperatures in the 20's and 30's. Do not gather the draped cloth around the truck of the tree. Your plant is collecting heat from the soil and if it is gathered on the truck the warm air rising from the soil will not reach the fragile leaves.
  • When covering potted plants, wrap the cloth around the plant and tuck the ends into the soil area of the pot.
  • Use clothespins to help hold cloth in together place.
  • Remove the coverings in the morning when temperatures are around 50 degrees.
  • Wrap the trucks of young trees to prevent damage to young, vital stem areas. This wrap can be left on all winter.
Sonoran Gardens and The Contained Gardener

Add Heat

  • Walls and benches collect heat during the day and are good sources of heat at night
  • 100w light builds can provide heat to coverage plants. Hang them below the foliage, away from trunks and branches that are susceptible to burning.
  • Apply a trickle of running to the ground at the base of the tree. When water is cooled energy in the form of heat is released.

Sonoran Gardens and The Contained GardenerBy taking these steps you can avoid dealing with frost damaged plants in spring time that are unsightly and may need to be completely removed.

It is not just your plants that are fragile to the cold, you should also use preventive measures to avoid damage to your pipes and backflow preventer.

In temperate climates, such as ours pipes are often installed outside, exposed to the elements. When temperatures are flirting with freezing it is important these pipes are insulated. Through the appropriate utilization of foam, insulation tape, and "insulation blankets" your pipes can be kept warm all winter long. Sonoran Gardens has the materials and expertise to properly insulate your exterior pipes for the season.


4261 West Jeremy Lot #2, Tucson, AZ 85741   |   Tel: 520.579.9411   |   E-mail:

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